Nov 4, 2018
Joplin, Mo.—Hanging tough through the first three quarters of play, the Panhandle State women’s basketball team took an exhibition loss (78-60) Tuesday evening to NCAA Division II opponent Missouri Southern State University.
Still standing at 3-2 on the season, as the exhibition contest does not count towards the teams’ overall record, Head Coach Victor Esparza was chiefly pleased with their performance. “I felt like it was a great team effort and we played hard against a strong team from a great conference.” Esparza adds, “Our defense was solid for about 30 minutes and I’m proud of our effort and the things this group is building up to.”
The Aggies were down by as much as 13 points in the first period and battled back to edge within six (25-19) going into the second quarter. Panhandle pulled within two points of the Lions early in the second, and matched their offensive efforts 15-15 to head into halftime trailing 40-34.
Senior Monti Regier evened the score at 42-42 with a big three-point shot at the 6:47 mark in the third period; and three minutes later the team shifted the score in their favor as a layup from Kim Best brought the score to 48-46. A successful free throw from Kelsea Illengo gave the Aggies a three-point advantage with under three minutes remaining in the third period. The two teams would tie once more in the fourth, before MSSU started pulling away as the Aggies were outscored 24-11 in the final period of play.
Coach Esparza continued, “This was a good road test for us to help prepare us for league play. We will have to clean up some things on offense, but we are getting better.”
Leading the Aggie offense in scoring was point guard Taylor Acosta who tallied 12 points for Panhandle. Regier finished with 11 points that included three shots made beyond the arc. Acosta also led the team in assists with three, and Illengo led the game in steals with three. Freshman post Kim Best marked a game-high in rebounds with ten defensive boards. Addison Munsch offered assistance on both ends of the court, bringing down eight boards and scoring nine points on the night.
Panhandle State women’s basketball returns to Anchor D Arena next week with a matchup against Northern New Mexico on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. Esparza ended comments with a message to the fans, “We have three home games left in the semester and we want everyone to come out and support our teams and make it a great home court for us.”
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